Ask any of my daughters what tugs at my heart the most when we go into a Christmas shop, and they’ll tell you it’s the nativity set.
I’ve lost count of how many sets I actually have tucked away with the family Christmas decorations. One porcelain set, still in the original box, came from my husband’s grandmother. Another set, piled into a Ziploc bag, has the cutest little Joseph with low-cut robe and large ears. Granted, he’s plastic and his son, the baby Jesus, was often found in the microwave when our 2-year-old Olivia decided he needed a special hiding place.
Both nativities mean the world to me and I can’t imagine parting with either one.
I grew up knowing the true meaning of Christmas – why the holiday is actually celebrated. It all goes back to that holy family.
The Scriptures say a lot about our Savior’s grand entrance upon this earth. Take, for instance, the prophecies. This was a birth that had been foretold centuries before. It was a pre-planned event.
From the national headlines that would take place at the time of His birth (Jeremiah 31:15) to the location Mary and Joseph would travel (Hosea 11:1) to the messenger who would prepare the people for Christ (Malachi 3:1), every detail was considered.
The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (7:14). I love that we are given details about the mother of the child and the child’s name, but what about his father?
Is this a part of the story that was overlooked? No way! Actually, I believe that because Joseph was not a part of the prophecy, his choosing and preparation to become the earthly father were that much more intentional.
According to Isaiah, the child would be born to a virgin; no mention of a father. Since Mary would give birth to a child without seed from an earthly father, couldn’t she also have raised the child without one?
Regardless of how we answer that question, the Scriptures are clear about the importance of Joseph in this historic account. Every gospel that records the story of Christ’s birth certainly highlights the role of Joseph – his place in the genealogy, his betrothal to Mary, and the angel’s appearance to him personally on two occasions.
These details, though not part of the prophecy, are an integral part of the narrative. The heavenly Father was so concerned that His one and only Son be born into a family that He made sure it happened that way.
Today, we’ve taken dad out of the equation for a healthy family, and that breaks my heart. I know from experience and God’s Word that dad has a critical role in the life of a child and the family as a whole.
Without dad, everything’s a little off-balance. Without dad, hearts are left vulnerable and children search for a substitute. As a society we’ve learned to get by without fathers.
We’ve said that we can make it without them; we don’t need their emotional support, finances, or even their name on a birth certificate. We’ve belittled them in the media, showing dads as clueless and classless compared to moms.
And the sad thing is we’ve allowed this to go on for so long, that our society has come to believe that dads are obsolete.
The truth is, dads are very important. Like it or not, God established the holy family as well as the first family with a father at the helm. It was His perfect design.
Today, we would be wise to consider this and reclaim the importance of a father in every family. At the New Life Clinic we see women all the time who are facing pregnancy, some with the baby’s father, many without.
But every client seeking help in her pregnancy has a man who helped make that pregnancy possible. And if that child is given the chance to live, he/she will indeed have a father on this earth. I pray that we encourage fathers, not belittle them. That we remind them of their worth and importance in the life of their child.
This month, NLC is formally adopting the Dadz Initiative for Clinton County that was started last year and housed at Job and Family Services.
I am proud to share that we are consulting with Dave Hinman, Dadz Program Director, to continue providing support for fathers all across this county. In the work that we do as a pregnancy resource center, it is only fitting that we provide resources for dads as well as moms.
It is my prayer that our community understands the important role of a father and provides support for those who see the value in doing family God’s way.
Sherry Weller is Executive Director of New Life Clinic in Wilmington.